In a new paper, Brookings economist Clifford Winston and Purdue professor Fred Mannering point out that driverless cars will render many car-centered technologies, including traffic control systems, obsolete. As a result, the government can save the money it might have spent on improvements. And the public will benefit, too, from fewer crashes and less congestion.
But this doesn’t mean that the government should stop worrying about America’s roadways. “The emergence of a driverless fleet will only draw more attention to the poor condition of America’s roads and its broken transportation funding system,” Eric Jaffe writes. “Try as they might, that’s one problem public officials can’t avoid for too much longer.”